TAMPA – To Bill Beekley and his students, age is nothing but another number on the calendar.
Beekley is 64 years old and can dead lift 610 pounds.
But when he teaches his strength lifting classes at the Westchase Recreation Center, he is usually one of the youngest ones there. He teaches senior women’s strength lifting three days a week. He has a 90-year-old woman in his class and his team has competed in national events. The youngest regular in his group is 70.
The class meets three times a week, and the members take their power lifting seriously.
“They really get into it,” Beekley said. “Some of them really take the plunge. It’s never too late to start. I started back in 1981 and never stopped.”
Beekley grew up in Tampa and played football and baseball but realized he was too small to make it on the collegiate level, so he gave weightlifting a try. That was almost 40 years ago. He was encouraged to enter a weightlifting competition and was hooked.
“This is competitive and it can really grab you,” Beekley said. “Now I get a big deal out of teaching people. We are competitive but we have fun doing it. It is amazing to see the things that these women can do. When you see a 70-year-old woman who can dead lift 200 pounds, that’s pretty amazing.”
Beekley said power lifting is all about attitude, regardless of age.
“It has taught me to persevere, maintain a positive attitude, and to push on through injuries and rough times,” he said. “It is also about teamwork because you can’t do this all by yourself.”
For more on Beekley’s power lifting classes at the Westchase Recreation Center, call (813) 964-2948.